Today I will not be posting a “recipe”, but rather an ingredient in a recipe for my healing in dealing with the grief and loss of my Boxer dog Irish. My beloved Boxer Dog “Irish” contracted an aggressive prostate cancer and within 3 days he was gone.
Irish showed no signs of illness prior to Saturday, September 8th. Saturday, late morning he started having trouble getting up and dragged his back leg. We called the Vet and he said it sounded like arthritis and to give him aspirin and if he wasn’t better over the weekend to bring him in. He was in a bad way on Saturday and looking at his eyes it just seemed that he wasn’t “there” and sort of out of it. It broke my heart to see him like that. Sunday he was much better and wasn’t dragging his back legs and seemed more like himself. I was so encouraged and glad he was feeling better. Monday morning we were still concerned and Tim took Irish in to see the Vet and he discovered a tumor and cancer of the prostrate. He was scheduled to come back to the Vet the next morning at 7:30 a.m. for a biopsy to see if we could possibly shrink the tumor. By mid morning Irish couldn’t urinate even though he kept trying and trying and trying. He tried all day and evening to urinate and nothing would come out. We were devastated at the news that Irish had cancer and now concerned that he couldn’t urinate.
The next day, September 11th was his 9th Birthday. We didn’t know what would happen so we gave him one of his favorite treats – eggs with his dog food and some vanilla ice-cream and sang happy birthday to him. He was on my lap that evening for a couple of hours and slept as I petted him.
The next morning Irish still couldn’t urinate and we took Irish to the Vet. Through tears, we talked with our Vet and told him of Irish’s inability to urinate and wondered if it was “time” to let Irish go. He said Irish’s inability to urinate was not good and that the tumor was now blocking the urine. Irish wouldn’t have lasted 3-4 days and would be in extreme pain. He felt that it was time. I, with my husband, made one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made and that was to let Irish go with love so that he wouldn’t suffer any more pain. We were both sobbing uncontrollably and were with Irish as he took his final breath. He went quickly and we were with him but I will never forget that. It was horrible and it was agonizingly painful for both of us. Even to the end he was kissing us and wagging his tail. I walked around the first day numb, in shock and crying. I cried the next day and the day after that. I just couldn’t believe he was taken from us so quickly and without warning.
Our home feels empty without him and our other dog Bailey kept looking for Irish the first few days. He misses him too. Irish was my first dog and I loved him so much. I had no idea of the pain and sadness I would feel upon his passing. It is overwhelming. I read as much as I could about grieving over the loss of a dog, searching for anything that would help me, to ease the pain. I talked a lot about it with Tim and with friends, I cried, I screamed that first day alone in my car with the windows up, and it all helped. It helped to talk about it with friends who cared and understood – who were also dog lovers. It helped to cry and it helped to scream. Tim and I talk about Irish all the time and we miss him – he filled the house with his presence.
With each passing day the pain has gotten better. I don’t cry every day, I still have moments where my eyes will tear up, but I’m moving through the healing process. I try to keep busy and I try hard to remember happy memories and not the memories of his last day. I can talk about Irish without crying now, I can smile at funny things he did and I can smile when I look at all the pictures I have taken of him over the years. I miss him so much and I think I probably will always miss him but the pain is slowly lessening and I can now laugh again. I am moving through the grieving process and I’m sure my last tear is not yet shed. As part of grieving, I read a suggestion to write a tribute. A Tribute for Irish follows; an ingredient for a recipe of healing.
A Tribute to My Dog “Irish”
September 11, 2003 – September 11, 2012
I never had a dog before or for that matter, I had never spent any amount of time around a dog. As I was driving with Tim to get our puppy I really wasn’t 100% convinced that I wanted one. All that changed within a short span of 30 minutes. There were two Boxer puppies left; one was all white and the other, soon to become my first dog was a beautiful little fawn boy who we named Irish. Tim drove and I held Irish in my lap. The moment that changed my life forever occurred within 30 minutes. Irish settled comfortably in my lap and to my utter amazement and astonishment he looked up with his puppy blue eyes directly into my eyes. I just couldn’t believe he looked into my eyes! It was love at first sight, so to speak, and from that moment on he was endeared to my heart.
That is not to say we didn’t have our trials and trying moments with Irish during his puppy stages. Oh … he was such a bad puppy! He chewed our bay window and door moldings, and chewed my shoes! That was forgotten as he turned into such a good loving dog. I don’t even mind looking at the door molding that has some of his chew marks still on it from his puppy days … now it is just a reminder of the Boxer boy I loved!
As a puppy and young dog Irish was so full of energy and playfulness! When I would let him outside he would run and run and run around the yard going faster and faster. It seemed he had an endless supply of energy. He loved to play ball and was really, really good at it! We would throw the ball high in the air and he could catch it out of the air. One of his many nick names was ball ball doggie. He could play ball for hours. When we were inside the house he was always bringing us balls or toys to play tug with. He loved playing “tag” with me. I would chase him around the dining room table and house and try to catch him.
Irish loved flowers! When we were outside often times we would see Irish smelling the flowers! When I was gardening I had to make sure I kept my gardening gloves close by otherwise he would pick them up in his mouth and run with them. He was such a clown and made us laugh.
He was always at the door to greet me with his wagging tail when I came home. I would often tease Tim that Irish was happier to see me than he was!
Irish followed me around the house and always wanted to go outside with me – he loved laying in the sun and walks around the neighborhood.
I taught him to “guard”. I would say “Guard” and he would run from one bird feeder to the other end of the yard to the other bird feeder to chase the squirrels away. Then he would look over at me as if to say “Did I do a good job?”. I’d give him the thumbs up and say “Good Job”! and he would happily come running back. He was so full of life and energy.
As Irish got older he slowed down but still liked to play. He was fascinated with our laser light and would chase it and try to pounce on it. It was hysterical to watch.
He was a great companion to our other dog Bailey and the two became very close.
He and Bailey chased squirrels in the yard. It was comical to watch because before they ran after the squirrels Irish would look at Bailey, and Bailey would look at Irish (it was their sign) and off running they would go to chase the squirrels!
Irish would bark at everyone that walked by letting them know he was here! He was very protective of me.
Irish was so loving and sensitive to my feelings. One day I had been upset and I was sitting near him crying, he came over and put his paws on my shoulders and looked at me as if to comfort me. He was amazing – that is a moment I will forever remember.
I believe my girlfriend best summed up Irish when she said “He had a big personality”.
Irish, you have left my life, but you will never leave my heart.